games / Reviews

Mark of The Ninja Review (Xbox 360 Arcade)

September 24, 2012 | Posted by Todd Vote

Title: Mark of the Ninja
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1
Rating: M for Mature

Mark of the Ninja is a side scrolling action platform game that employs all the handy tactics that the ninja use. Stealth, distractions, and to an extent, playing mind games are all tools at your disposal as you traverse through this game. Now stealth has come to us in many different forms in video games. From Solid Snake hiding in boxes, to Sam Fisher quietly sneaking up on some poor unsuspecting terrorist, stealth comes in many forms. Having not always been a big fan of games that require me to sneak to my objectives, as opposed to a running in guns a blazing, to hell with collateral damage attitude featured in most games I enjoy playing, I wasn’t expecting a lot of joy out of Mark of the Ninja. But I get to be a Ninja, so I figured “what the hell?”.
Mark of the Ninja employs stealth in it’s purest form. Use discretion, and be quiet, or all hell will break loose. The ninja is not super human, so alerting the guards or getting sniffed out by one of the dogs can, more often than not, lead to you dying a painful death and reverting back to the last checkpoint. There is always the slight chance you will get to a hidden spot and be able to stay there till the guards lose their alertness level, but you are better off just to play it quiet.

Mark of the Ninja is a sort of action platformer. The game uses shadows, and darkness to add to its effects. Those of you who have played Klei Entertainments Shank will feel really familiar with the look of the game, sort of a cartoon, comic book feel. Over the top facials, when you see them, combined with very nice looking cut scenes really draw you into the game.

By playing the game the stealthy way, you are rewarded, of course. The camera will do a really tight close up of all of your stealth kills. While this is a great addition to the game, I truly wish there would have been a larger variety on display. I think I had seen all of the swift silent kill styles within the first two levels of the game. Some more variety would have been nice. There are only so many times you can witness the ninja stabbing a guy through his mandible to dispose of him.

After finishing each level you are awarded with points that can be spent to unlock new power ups to help you in your journey. Some things you will unlock by finding them in game, but you can buy new moves, and upgrade your moves from the games store. Playing the game one way may earn you some of the medals available, but you may find you have to go back through a level to get the maximum number of points. You will need them too, because the upgrades aren’t exactly cheap.

But that is where some of the fun lies in the game. The replay value of each level. There is no one right way to forge your way through the game. You play it how you want to play it. You want the guards alert at every turn, go ahead. I wouldn’t recommend it but if that is the way you prefer to play, go for it! There are bonuses for killing every guard, there are some bonuses for you if you decide to navigate a whole level without killing or alerting anything. Its all up to you.

Mark of the Ninja features some of the better voice work I have seen from an Xbox Live Arcade game, I was surprised with the overall production of the game. I always expect the arcade games to feature more of a story board cut scene, but this game features fully animated cut scenes with great acting from all involved.

The game also features some leader boards for you to compare your scores with your friends if that is what you are looking for. try to finish the levels as fast as you can, see if you can reach the top. Just another little thing the game offers to keep you wanting to play.

+ Ninja style
+ Great Use of Stealth
+ Lots of bells and whistles for you to maim with

– Lack of variety of close up kills.
– Items and upgrades are expensive

Final 411
Mark of the Ninja is a game that finally makes me enjoy stealth gameplay. That is quite a feat for a guy that has passed on both the Splinter Cell series, and the MGS series due to a disdain of stealth game play. It offers a fun and engaging story that is well worth your time.

Graphics9.0The graphics on display are great! Great animation, awesome cut scenes and brutal looking kills.  
Gameplay8.0This is easily the most fun I have ever had with stealth game play 
Sound9.0great voice work and music accompany an already fun experience 
Lasting Appeal7.5For you perfectionists, there is plenty to keep you busy 
Fun Factor 8.0As I said, simply put, the most fun I have had with stealth game play.  
Overall8.3   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Todd Vote
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